Our Team

Our team is small, qualified, professional, multinational and multilingual. We’re all passionate about our work. We come from Australia, Germany, and China, all with the same aim – to provide children with special needs and learning difficulties with professional services in their area, or areas, of need. We aim to provide professional services at a personal level. We hope to get to know your children, your family, and those involved in your child’s life, so that we can all work together to highlight your child’s potential.

Anita Franklin – Owner and Director, Special Education and Learning Support Specialist

Anita grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, before moving to Canberra to attend university. Anita has experience studying and working with a range of special needs and learning disabilities, mostly at primary school level, in classroom and extracurricular settings in both Australia and China. Anita began learning Chinese in high school, at the insistence of her parents, and continued through to university, where she received a scholarship to study for a year in Beijing. Her year in Beijing marked the beginning of both her love for China, and her interest in education. Anita has been living and working with children in Beijing for more than a decade. She didn’t really have an event that marked her particular interest in special education. She has a sister, Stephanie, who was born blind and with a hearing impairment, so has always been surrounded by people with special needs. Anita greatly admires her mother, who is also blind and works in disability advocacy and counselling, and successfully fought to have Stephanie be the first blind student fully integrated into a mainstreamed local government school in South Australia. In addition to founding and managing Side by Side, Anita continues to work to support students with special needs and learning difficulties. She works with the special education day programme, and does individual and small group learning support sessions. She also does assessments. Anita has experience working with expressive and receptive language delays, dyslexia, dyscalculia, selective mutism, sensory disorders, auditory processing and memory difficulties, vocabulary development, autism, Down Syndrome, reading and writing difficulties, behaviour issues, and attention disorders. Anita has designed and successfully implemented individual and small group programmes for students with challenges in literacy, science, social studies, art, ESOL, and mathematics. She has worked with students from pre-kindergarten to grade 11. Anita has experience working with bilingual and multilingual students and families, as well as those with varied language and cultural backgrounds. She has a Bachelor of Social Sciences, postgraduate certificates in teaching second languages and education, a Master in Applied Linguistics (focusing on first and second language acquisition and teaching, syllabus design and language testing) and a Master in Education (Special Education). Contact Anita: anita@sidebysidebeijing.com

Philipp Schiffers – Music Therapist, Social Worker and Special Needs Support Worker

Philipp Schiffers is a social worker whose specialisation is music therapy. He graduated from University of Applied Sciences in Würzburg, Germany, with a degree in Social Work and Music Therapy. Prior to his current position, he was a Special Needs Support Worker and a Social Tender for 6 years, working with a number of schools, day care centres and homes for senior citizens. In 2005, Philipp worked with a school for children with disabilities in Kerala, India. In 2008, he helped to set up a day care centre in Poona, India. Philipp has experience working with a range of different special needs and learning difficulties, including autism, Down Syndrome, attention disorders and mutism. He is a certified swimming lifeguard and an excellent juggler and songwriter. Raised in Ansbach, Germany, Philipp now lives in the centre of Beijing. He has been with Side by Side since it was founded. Philipp is fluent in German and English, and is currently learning Chinese. Contact Philipp: philipp@sidebysidebeijing.com

MaLi Wang – Assistant

MaLi is a huge help in keeping things at Side by Side running smoothly. Originally from An Hui Province, MaLi moved to Beijing to work in 2000. She has more than ten years of experience. Mali loves children, and has a 10 year old son, Li SiYuan. Mali assists in sessions and classes, and conducts daily Chinese lessons and weekly Chinese cooking lessons.  She also helps with the day programme shopping, and life skills sessions and session preparation. Mali has been with Side by Side since it was founded.

Miele, William, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie – Centre Pets, Occasional Session Supervisors and Teaching Assistants

Miele, William, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie are four of the cutest and friendliest cats you will ever find. William is the oldest of the cats, Miele is the second oldest, and Snugglepot and Cuddlepie (who prefer to be called Snuggles and Cuddles) are the youngest. Snuggles and Cuddles are twin brothers, they’re long haired cats. Snuggles is very outgoing and purrs really loudly, whereas Cuddles is quite shy. Miele, being the only girl, is very personable, she loves to watch people write and she loves having her head massaged with a pencil as you write. William loves sitting in boxes, and he also loves to try and escape whenever the door opens! He runs outside for a few minutes and rolls around before coming back inside to observe sessions or relax in one of the cat boxes. Miele and William are short haired. All four cats are from Beijing and like to watch sessions and be the topic of class conversations, journal entries or stories. All four cats love to be patted and love to have their photo taken.

Pepper – Centre Pet, Entertainer, Assistant and Occasional Trouble Maker

PepperPepper was a cute black puppy we rescued in September, 2012. Now, he’s a cute dog who loves to go on walks and follow Anita around. He loves to play, steal shoes, and tease the cats. Pepper is a very friendly dog, who enjoys being with people. Sometimes he barks at people he doesn’t know. He’s a fast runner, which makes taking his photograph quite a challenge, but makes our day programme’s P.E. classes extra fun! At the end of a long day, he likes to rest on the big colourful cushions at Side by Side.

Salt – Centre Pet, Rascal, Trainee Assistant and Queen Trouble Maker

IMG_5912Salt is a beautiful, small, white cat. We found her at the Hou Sha Yu market in July 2013. She quickly made friends with Pepper and is slowly becoming friends with the other cats. Salt is very playful, and likes to make everything into a game, and all objects into toys. She loves exploring Side by Side for new “toys”.